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  1. #31
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    LeBron James to the Rockets? Here's how it could happen this summer

    If LeBron James' goal this offseason is to join the team that gives him the best chance of knocking off Golden State after back-to-back losses to the Warriors in the NBA Finals, his best hope may be joining the Houston Rockets -- who took the Warriors the distance in this year's conference finals.

    Because Houston is already too close to the salary cap to sign James outright before even dealing with new contracts for free agents Chris Paul and Clint Capela, getting LeBron to Houston would almost certainly require a trade. Is such a scenario possible? Let's look at how it might happen.

    Step 1: James opts in for 2018-19
    If LeBron wants to play for the Rockets, it would probably be necessary for him to go the same route Paul did a year ago: passing on free agency to set up a trade to Houston. Why? Because even if the Rockets were to pull off a sign-and-trade deal for James as a maximum-salary free agent, doing so would hard-cap them at the luxury-tax apron, estimated at $128 million for next season.

    Max salaries for James and Paul (an unrestricted free agent), plus James Harden, would swallow up more than $100 million of that total. Add in a max salary for Capela (a restricted free agent) and Houston would already be pushing the apron, with 10 roster spots still left to fill.

    So unless James or Paul is willing to take a massive pay cut -- unlikely given their leadership roles in the National Basketball Players Association (Paul is president, James is first vice president) -- LeBron opting in is the way to go. A trade would allow the Rockets to re-sign any of their free agents, including Capela, Paul and also starting small forward Trevor Ariza, with new owner Tilman Fertitta's willingness to pay a giant luxury-tax bill the main issue from Houston's standpoint.

    Unlike Paul last season, James wouldn't have to sacrifice much in the way of salary to do so. In fact, his $35.6 million player option is actually worth slightly more than the current max projection for 2018-19 ($35.35 million). And six months after a trade (mid-January, in this scenario), LeBron would be eligible to sign a max extension with the Rockets, meaning he can get to Houston and sign a long-term contract without having to wait until the summer of 2019.

    The trick here would be finding a workable trade between the Rockets and Cavaliers.

    Step 2: Searching for an Anderson taker
    Ideally, Houston would match James' salary in large part with the $20.4 million owed Ryan Anderson in 2018-19. However, with two years left on Anderson's contract (he'll make $21.3 million in 2019-20) and with him falling largely out of the Rockets' playoff rotation, that's a tough sell. The New York Knicks' unwillingness to take back Anderson was a key factor in Houston's pursuit of Carmelo Anthony falling short of the goal line last summer.


    Dealing James for a package centered on Anderson would likely push Cleveland deep into the luxury tax next season, so that idea is probably a nonstarter. Any trade involving Anderson would require a third team with cap space to take on his contract in exchange for future picks, allowing the Cavaliers to cut their payroll. Alas, Houston's first-rounders the next few seasons would have limited value with LeBron on the roster, and there will be more teams looking to shed salary than add it. So it would probably take at least two and maybe three first-rounders to persuade another team to take on Anderson -- without compensating Cleveland.

    Instead, the Rockets may have to live with Anderson on their books and find another trade package for James.

    Step 3: Building a LeBron trade without Anderson
    Matching James' salary without involving Anderson is possible but more painful for Houston, which would have to give up key parts in return. Assuming the Rockets are limited to players currently under contract -- sign-and-trade rules would also be challenging on the Cavs' end of the deal -- Houston would have to trade basically everyone besides Harden and Anderson.

    The Rockets would be required to send out at least $28.4 million in matching salary after the end of the July moratorium, and a package of Eric Gordon, Aaron Jackson, Nene, Chinanu Onuaku, PJ Tucker and Zhou Qi would add up to $29.4 million. (Houston would have to guarantee the 2018-19 salaries of Jackson and Zhou first, because otherwise their salaries would not count for trade purposes.)

    This version of the trade sends out two of the Rockets' top four players in minutes played in the playoffs, which would hurt their depth. It would also hamper their 3-point shooting; Gordon and Tucker combined for 333 triples during the regular season, more than twice as many as LeBron's career-high 149. Still, those are sacrifices Houston GM Daryl Morey would happily make, just as he did giving up several contributors to land Paul last summer.

    After all, James would slide into Tucker's role as starting power forward, and the Rockets would have their taxpayer midlevel exception (estimated at $5.3 million) to sign a backup shooting guard to replace Gordon. And, again, they could bring back all of their free agents.

    The real question is whether Cleveland would sign off. Adding $29 million in payroll would put the Cavaliers some $16 million into the projected luxury tax for a team unlikely to seriously contend without James. So Cleveland would probably look to flip Gordon and Tucker, who should both have positive trade value because of reasonable contracts.

    If the Cavaliers can't easily shed payroll elsewhere, they could probably maneuver their way under the tax line by using the stretch provision. Waiving and stretching George Hill, for example, would save Cleveland $14 million in 2018-19 because Hill's 2019-20 salary is guaranteed for just $1 million.

    The Cavs would surely want a couple of future first-rounders for their trouble, after getting two of them, plus a swap option and two second-round picks, for signing-and-trading James to the Miami Heat in 2010 -- a move that did not force Cleveland to take on any salary in return. (A caution to Cavaliers fans: Don't expect a better return if James is traded again, since first-round picks are valued much more highly now than they were in 2010.)

    Ultimately, I think Cleveland would sign on in order to get the first-round picks and whatever can be had for Gordon and Tucker. While not ideal, that option is better than James leaving outright in free agency with the Cavaliers getting no draft compensation.

    Of course, there are many important variables before the two teams could even begin talking trade. First and most critically, LeBron has to decide Houston is the next place he's taking his talents, and to do so before the June 29 deadline to pick up his player option.

    If that happens, however, there appears to be a path for James to join the Rockets.
    http://www.espn.com/nba/story/_/id/2...how-happen-nba

  2. #32
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    Yeah, I just read that.

    Anderson or Tucker/Gordon + Nene + Qi + Jackson + Nanu for LeBron, with a Tucker and Gordon package obviously being much easier to move to a third team (unlikely the Cavs take on any more contracts). And shipping Anderson would cost assets the Rockets would need to send to the Cavs.

    The problem is, after the trade, the Rockets would be up for a huge tax bill. Harden, Paul and LeBron add up to close to $102M. Add Anderson or Tucker and Gordon, plus Capela, possibly the MLE on Luc or a different player and minimum contract guys, and we're talking about a $160M payroll. And that's considering they don't bring Ariza back.

    They'd obviously need to dump Anderson, but all the assets would probably be gone in a LeBron move.
    Rockets | Texans | Astros



  3. #33
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    I didn't talk at all about the Draft.

    The Rockets only have the 46th pick, and there's obviously a bunch of players they could select. Perhaps, the most likely option is drafting a foreign player to be stashed. They can also opt to move the pick for a second-rounder in 2019 (which could be later packaged in a trade). It's also worth noting that the Rockets have their full $5.1M amount in cash to make a trade, and maybe move up for a player they like.

    Still, the thing to watch on Draft night is what Phoenix and Dallas do with their picks. If the Suns really take Ayton, and the Mavs go with Bamba, Bagley, Jaren Jackson or even Wendell Carter, that probably means they won't go after Capela. Phoenix also has the 16th pick.
    Rockets | Texans | Astros



  4. #34
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    https://www.msn.com/en-us/sports/nba...ton/ar-AAyIiq5

    Iím honestly over the whole LeBron thing already. If he comes Iím happy, if he doesnít Iím still fine with our team and will still be hoping for a championship next season.

    I just found this interesting

  5. #35
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    Jul 2012
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    the bigger news of yesterday, that can affect the plans of a lot of teams, is that leonard request to be traded!
    of course the front runners for him are celtics and lakers...i think that if lal succeded to trade for him and leave some money, they can really have 3 all stars in the roster and this could be a problem for everybody!

  6. #36
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    What's up folks! I haven't posted here in a few years now and I had to register again because I can't remember my old login (lilboytwister99) but I miss my Rockets fans here.

    Rockets do not need to chase LeBron. It wouldn't be worth it to me. They have a great team now and with a few tweaks they can make a run. I'd say if CP3 wants a max contract, I don't know that he's worth that. I'd say go after Paul George and see where that takes the team.

    Another person you might consider is Carmelo Anthony, but if you can get him for a reasonable price.

    I'd hate to see Houston keep ending up short because they wouldn't take the risk of signing someone they need.

    Hope you guys have a great weekend!

  7. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by fabiosky13 View Post
    the bigger news of yesterday, that can affect the plans of a lot of teams, is that leonard request to be traded!
    of course the front runners for him are celtics and lakers...i think that if lal succeded to trade for him and leave some money, they can really have 3 all stars in the roster and this could be a problem for everybody!
    I actually doubt LeBron goes to LA to play point full time. Even, or especially, if the Lakers are able to land both Kawhi and George.

    Quote Originally Posted by jasonkraatz899 View Post
    What's up folks! I haven't posted here in a few years now and I had to register again because I can't remember my old login (lilboytwister99) but I miss my Rockets fans here.

    Rockets do not need to chase LeBron. It wouldn't be worth it to me. They have a great team now and with a few tweaks they can make a run. I'd say if CP3 wants a max contract, I don't know that he's worth that. I'd say go after Paul George and see where that takes the team.

    Another person you might consider is Carmelo Anthony, but if you can get him for a reasonable price.

    I'd hate to see Houston keep ending up short because they wouldn't take the risk of signing someone they need.

    Hope you guys have a great weekend!
    Hey, dude. I remember you. Welcome back.

    The good thing about chasing LeBron is that we'll know whether the Rockets land him or not before free agency actually begins. It won't get in the way of pretty much anything, with the only exception being what we do with our second round pick, which is probably not a big deal. That also applies to George.

    And no way I want anything to do with Anthony.

  8. #38
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    https://www.hoopsrumors.com/2018/06/...&post-id=96997

    So much for Ariza coming back at a discount. See ya, Trev (unless nothing else pans out).

  9. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by EDUTEXANS View Post

    And no way I want anything to do with Anthony.
    If Melo gets bought out then I wouldnít mind the the Rockets considering him.

    We would get him at a great discount and hopefully plays like he has something to prove after all the backlash heís been getting.

  10. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by c.c. View Post
    If Melo gets bought out then I wouldnít mind the the Rockets considering him.

    We would get him at a great discount and hopefully plays like he has something to prove after all the backlash heís been getting.
    if melo become free agent and we land lebron, i thinl there will be a really huge possibility to see him in houston...and maybe wade too (i read some rumors already)

  11. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by fabiosky13 View Post
    if melo become free agent and we land lebron, i thinl there will be a really huge possibility to see him in houston...and maybe wade too (i read some rumors already)
    I want no parts of Wade and Iíd rather Melo off a buy out so we can get him at a cheaper rate.

    I donít think Iíll want to sign him if heís opts out, still might be a little pricey until he sees how low the market might be for him

  12. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by c.c. View Post
    I want no parts of Wade and Iíd rather Melo off a buy out so we can get him at a cheaper rate.

    I donít think Iíll want to sign him if heís opts out, still might be a little pricey until he sees how low the market might be for him
    my bad...i wrote free agent without saying "afetr the buy out from okc"

  13. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by Saddletramp View Post
    https://www.hoopsrumors.com/2018/06/...&post-id=96997

    So much for Ariza coming back at a discount. See ya, Trev (unless nothing else pans out).
    It looks more and more likely Ariza will be a cap casualty this summer. Because, even if nothing else pans out, and the Rockets end up just re-signing Paul and Capela, they will still be up for a huge tax bill, and Ariza will cost a lot more than just his salary, and it might not be worth it.

    With that said, I don't think he'll get what he's looking for. If he decides to leave Houston, or if the Rockets let him go, he might have to settle for a MLE contract somewhere.


    Quote Originally Posted by c.c. View Post
    If Melo gets bought out then I wouldnít mind the the Rockets considering him.

    We would get him at a great discount and hopefully plays like he has something to prove after all the backlash heís been getting.
    This guy? No, thanks.
    Rockets | Texans | Astros



  14. #44
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    i think that if lebron would be in houston, he will accept to come off the bench...everybody knows that if you have the king, your possibilities to win will be higher than ever!

  15. #45
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    Rockets need guys that can play defense. Offensively, Anthony can fit the mold of a stretch four. But they need guys that are versatile defenders. After the CP3 injury in the playoffs, the Rockets didn't have enough depth in that area and it killed them with the super small rotation.

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